Looking for a toy for your wee tot? Use our guide to find the right toy for each age and stage — from investment pieces to do-it-yourself ideas, as well as sentimental favourites.
TOYS FOR BABY
For the tiniest humans, playtime is all about getting used to their senses and discovering their place in the world. In all honesty, the only play thing your baby really needs is you – a loving, engaged grown-up. But there are some tools you can add to the mix to help baby learn about this big old world. Whether it’s taking turns at playing blocks, or simply blowing bubbles at baby, the more you are involved in your child’s play, the better. And remember, at this young age, the most important thing for baby is safety so make sure any toy within their grasp is not a choking hazard.
TOYS FOR TODDLERS
Toddlers are busy little creatures so keep them moving with toys that channel their energy. Walking into a toy store can be overwhelming, but our advice is to look for toys that do more than one thing, that is to say, they’re ‘open-ended’. You’re more likely to spark your child’s imagination with blocks they can put together to form a road or a spaceship than with an electronic toy with many bells and whistles – a toy that does all the work means the child isn’t doing much.
TOYS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
A simple look at kids at play at kindergarten or pre-school and you’ll see what serious business playtime is. Around age three, children are particularly fond of role-play, mimicking what they see the grown-ups in their lives do – whether it’s baking, taking care of baby, or belting out a rock ‘n' roll song on a toy guitar. You can really foster imagination by getting involved in this play – put on a pirate hat and rally your rascally crew to board that enemy ship, or grab your binoculars and go on a safari adventure. In the months leading up to school, toys and games that encourage social skills and confidence are an added bonus.